Rochester taps team to help create riverfront vision –

A $195,000 contract for initial planning of the development of 2.5 acres of city-owned land west of the Zumbro River, between the southeast Second and Fourth streets, was approved Monday.
“This is an exciting process and project,” said Rochester City Council member Mark Bransford.
The council approved the agreement with a 5-2 vote, with members Molly Dennis and Kelly Rae Kirkpatrick opposed.
“The community needs a seat at the table, and we need to make sure that when something important as the riverfront in Rochester is being looked at, that we have active community engagement,” Dennis said, calling for greater detail about planned engagement to be added to the contract.
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The agreement with Cambridge, Mass.-based Gamble Associates calls for active community engagement in the planning effort, which will include identifying priorities for the site that currently houses a city parking ramp, a parking lot and the former Legends site.
The plan calls for work to start in October, with engagement including the creation of a co-design panel, public meetings with stakeholders, online engagement and in-person community events.

What happened: The Rochester City Council approved a contract to create a small-area plan for 2.5 acres of city-owned land west of the Zumbro River.
Why does this matter: The site between southeast Second and Fourth streets includes the former Legends site, a parking lot and a parking ramp.
What's next: Cambridge, Mass.-based Gamble Associates will assess the site and start community engagement to develop a vision for what could be developed.

“There is an intent to have a very robust engagement process,” Deputy City Administrator City Steinhauser said. “That was one of the factors in selecting the group we did.”
Kirkpatrick questioned hiring an out-of-state firm, rather than a local consultant.
Jaymi Wilson, the city’s project manager for the project, said local proposals were submitted but Gamble had significant experience with plans for waterfront properties, which put it ahead of others.
“As a group, we really felt this was the strongest group to help us with this first out-of-the-gate part of this planning process,” she said.
Gamble’s work will include three subcontractors: Laguna Beach, Calif.-bases SWA Group, St. Paul-based NEOO Partners and Framingham, Mass.-based Omloop.
SWA Group will provide landscape architecture and planning services. The company cites more than 60 years of experience and a commitment to integrating principles of environmental sustainability.
NEOO Partners will provide economic development and community engagement services. The company recently worked with Kimley-Horn to provide transit planning and community engagement services for Rochester’s Transit Development Plan.
Omloop Design will provide signage and wayfinding services for the project, The firm cites a diverse range of clients and project types in its portfolio.
A final vision for the 2.5-acre site, which will be submitted to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission and the Rochester City Council for approval, is expected by the end of June.